Appraisal of the Effects of Materials Management on Building Productivity in South East Nigeria



Dr. Chukwuemeka Ngwu, Dr. Kevin C. Okolie and Dr. John U. Ezeokonkwo

Nnamdi Azikiwe University
Awka, Anambra State




The problem of material management is one of the key issues facing the building industry in Nigeria. the activities identified in the supply channel (the sourcing and transmission of purchase orders up to control of material wastages) are considered key to materials management because they primarily affect the economy, effectiveness of material movement, productivity, optimization of profit and reduction of materials cost. The aim of this study was to identify the key areas where material management is deficient so that improvement could be made in order to increase productivity. Consequently, a survey was carried out in ten organized building sites in the South East states of Nigeria. The site engineers, managers and supervisors were engaged through both focus interviews and site to site fact findings by the researchers. The data collected formed the background of the structured questionnaires for proper analysis and recommendations.

Eighty seven out of ninety questionnaires launched to the sites were properly completed and returned. In order to rank the severity of the factors, a mean score index was employed. Results show that lack of provision of material schedule, material scheduling and poor control of material wastages are the most significant areas of material management improvement. In the light of the above, it is recommended that a soundly prepared set of material schedules, carefully checked will give those responsible for material management a first rate document to form the basis of their material administrative control system. The material schedule would further assist in material scheduling – identifying materials required and making deliveries at scheduled times and dates. This, in turn helps to reduce left over materials after use, superfluous materials and subsequent improvement in building productivity.

Keywords: Materials management, material schedule, material scheduling, material waste, productivity.  

1.0 Introduction

Builders have become increasingly cost conscious about their construction resources, namely; materials, labour, plant, finance and methodology. Not only has considerable attention been given to labour costs, incentive schemes and productivity but also to plant management and cost control. Has the same attention been extended to materials and their management and effects on productivity? This situation can be conveniently illustrated by likening the company resources and its organization to the human body.

Without the head there would be no effective co-ordination of the body and invariably, no existence. Likewise a company without management expertise will not survive. The importance of the legs and arms to the body are self-evident and by the same token in the analogy the importance of both labour and plant cost is apparent as they tend to a large extent, determine the success of a contract. What about the head? It is the unifying element and to a large extent gives the body its form. Materials are as important, yet the examination of the company’s head seems to have been a less frequent occurrence than other parts of the body. Why is this so? When for many firms, materials not only represent a significant part of their administrative effort but also a substantial part of their expenditure. Chetna (2011) posits that the cost of building materials account for sixty to seventy percent of direct cost of a project or facility.


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About the Authors



Dr. Ngwu Chukwuemeka

Nnamdi Azikiwe University
Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria


Dr Ngwu Chukwuemeka
holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Quantity Surveying, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy Degrees in Construction Management. After a stint with Enugu State University of Science and Technology in Nigeria, he joined Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Anambra State where he is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Quantity Surveying. His research interest is in labour productivity, materials and cost management of construction projects. He has published in both local and international journals. Dr. Ngwu is a Registered Quantity Surveyor and can be contacted at [email protected] or [email protected]



Dr. Kevin C. Okolie

Nnamdi Azikiwe University
Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria



Dr Kevin C. Okolie
is a senior lecturer and Head of the Department of Building at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Anambra State Nigeria. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Construction Management from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth South Africa. His research interest lies in the development of Building Performance Evaluation Methodology, Health and Safety Management and Built Asset Management Systems. His published papers and articles on Construction and Facilities Management have appeared in many international conferences and peer reviewed journals.

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]



Dr. John U. Ezeokonkwu

Nnamdi Azikiwe University
Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria


Dr. John U. Ezeokonkwo
graduated from the University of Washington, Seattle, USA (Building Construction in 1980) and Seattle University also in USA (M.Sc. in Highway/Transportation Engineering in 1982). He obtained his Ph.D. in Construction Management from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria. Dr Ezeokonkwo has over 30 years of teaching and professional experience. He has taught in the Department of Civil Engineering and currently in the Department of Building at Nnamdi Azikiwe University. He has published papers and articles in learned Journals, most of which are in Construction Technology and materials management. His area of interest is Concrete Technology, Construction and Materials management. Dr Ezeokonkwo can be contacted at [email protected] or [email protected].